15 Tips to Overcome Summer Slide for Students with ADHD


Yea!  School’s out.  So what can we expect?  A lost of more that 2 months of grade-level equivalence.  It’s the summer slide.  What can we do about it for our students with ADHD?

During the summer months, students with ADHD tread water, at best, but are more likely to fall behind.  This loss of reading and math skills accumulates over school progress.  By the end of 6th grade, students who have experience summer learning loss are an average of 3 years behind their peers.  This accelerated gap results from the remedial skills that remain unsupported.

Summer learning loss can be recognized as early as 1st grade.  Contributing factors are access to appropriate books, summer enrichment programs, and motivation,  Students with ADHD face additional challenges as they lack specialized reading and math interventions that they receive during the school year.

Researchers suggest that at-risk students read 4-6 books during the summer to keep struggling readers from regressing.  Students with ADHD should segment time periods to improve attentiveness.  Read 25 minutes at breakfast, then again at lunch.  Follow up with 25 minutes in the evening.

Students who pick out books for themselves are 92% more likely to finish.  Choosing which book to read it critical to the progress made, especially for struggling readers with ADHD.  Helping them can be supported by the “Goldilocks Effect.”  Too easy means that they’ll get bored.  Too hard leads to frustration.  Choose one in the middle that is “just right.”

Using technology provides activities that improve motivation.  It improves critical thinking and problem solving.  Going for the high score versus timed reading.  The answer should be obvious.

  • Start a technology project together.
  • Teach through tasks (baking a cake, fixing a bike).
  • Challenge yourself using an educational app.
  • Check out online tutorials that incorporate games.
  • Go on an adventure using maps.

Using online resources such as GoodReads can help students with ADHD in memory and analysis for longer novels.  It allows readers to track progress, share thoughts, and maybe discover some new books too.

Traditional academics offer other opportunities to supplement learning.  Community colleges offer both credit and noncredit courses.  Studying abroad not only provides education, it helps to develop social and cultural skills as well.

Preparing for the SAT/ACT has built-in advantages.  Classes utilize analysis in teaching test-taking strategies.  Content instruction in reading, writing, and math provides above grade-level learning.  Improved vocabulary increases comprehension through a variety of areas.

Physical activities offer non-traditional  ways to enhance academic performance.  Signing up for a team sport supplements social skills.  Choose new sports such as swimming and martial arts encourage learning new skills.  Stay local and take walks, hike, and explore.

Creativity and ADHD often go hand in hand.  Take advantage and exploit their gifts.  Bring friends into the picture for added fun.

  • Play word games (Scrabble, Mad-Libs).
  • Read comics with active themes.
  • Take field trips.
  • Form a book club, using books turned into movies.
  • Play trivia games.

Focusing on closing the summer slide is important to the overall performance of students with ADHD.  Keep in mind, take a break from learning one way and instead learn in another.  “A child only educated at school is an uneducated child.”  

What is your favorite nontraditional learning activity?





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